Nanaimo fire chief hired as chief in Vancouver

The City of Vancouver is importing talent from Nanaimo to take over from retiring Fire Chief Darrell Reid.

Karen Fry, who has served as chief of the Nanaimo Fire Department since 2017, will assume the role of chief of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services on Jan. 4

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“Public safety is my passion and I am keen to build on the already outstanding efforts of the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services team,” Fry said in a statement. “It has been a difficult year for emergency-service workers and there will be challenges ahead, but I am committed to serving this community alongside my new colleagues.”

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said the city is “very, very proud” of its chief and she will be missed by those she worked with, adding that it was no surprise that Vancouver would “scoop her.”

He told Fry on Friday that there will be “tears of joy for you and tears of sadness for the rest of us.”

Fry played a key role in planning for Nanaimo’s new fire hall, which is now under construction, and in moving fire dispatch services to Surrey.

She took on a senior role in managing safety issues around what was then B.C.’s largest tent city in 2018. More than 300 campers lived on municipal land for several months.

“She is able. She is thoughtful. She does not wear her ego on her sleeve and she knows how to make people work together as a team and they feel part of her team,” Krog said.

“She is universally respected, liked and well-regarded.”

The city’s chief administrator’s office will lead the process to find a replacement for Fry, who began her career as a Nanaimo fire dispatcher in 1999.

She has also been deputy chief of the Surrey Fire Department and is first vice-president of the B.C. Fire Chiefs Association.

The new job is expected to come with a pay raise for Fry, who earned $193,000 in salary and benefits in 2019. Reid pulled in more than $262,000 in salary and expenses last year.

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